Crystal Palace visit the Emirates Stadium for the first time ever this weekend to take on Arsene Wenger’s title-chasing Arsenal.
The Gunners will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after drawing 2-2 at Southampton in midweek – a result that saw them relinquish top spot for the first time this calendar year.
Despite that setback, Arsenal come into the game in an impressive vein of form. They are unbeaten in seven in the league and their last defeat – a 6-3 reverse at Manchester City in December – was their only loss in 12 Premier League outings.
The north Londoners have a near-unblemished record against the Eagles, winning 21 of their 34 meetings in all competitions, suffering only three defeats in that time.
Palace’s last win over the Gunners came back in October 1994, as a John Salako brace gave the Eagles all three points at Highbury, despite a goal from former Palace striker, Ian Wright.
Tony Pulis’ men will be looking to cause a similar upset this afternoon as they continue their climb away from the relegation zone.
Arsenal: Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of Sunday's clash with Palace after picking up an ankle injury in the FA Cup victory over Coventry City a week ago. The England midfielder missed the 2-2 draw at Southampton and will be forced to watch from the stands again this weekend.
Fellow midfielders Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby (both cruciate ligament) and Tomas Rosicky (broken nose) are all set to miss out, with Mathieu Flamini suspended after being sent off in that draw at St Mary’s.
Arsenal’s midfield ranks will be further depleted by the absence of Welshman Aaron Ramsey, who has not played since Boxing Day due to a thigh strain. He had been on course for a comeback, but Arsene Wenger admitted that Ramsey had suffered a “little setback” on his road to recovery.
Crystal Palace: Johnathan Parr could return to Palace’s back four on Sunday after missing the 1-0 victory over Hull City on Tuesday. The Norwegian was stretchered off after colliding with Callum McManaman in the FA Cup defeat at Wigan Athletic, but suffered no serious injuries in the incident.
Kagisho Dikgacoi is also in contention to make Tony Pulis’ squad following a calf problem, but Jerome Thomas remains sidelined.
Glenn Murray continues his comeback from the cruciate ligament injury he suffered in the play-off semi-final against Brighton back in May 2013, but will not feature against the Gunners.
New signing Wayne Hennessey was signed before Friday's midday registration deadline and could be named in the squad.
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: P Kirkup and M Perry
Fourth Official: R East
|Arsenal wins||Draws||Palace wins|
LAST MEETING AT ARSENAL
Arsenal ran out convincing 5-1 winners the last time Palace travelled to north London to face Arsene Wenger’s side, back in February 2005.
Then playing in their penultimate season at Highbury, Arsenal took the lead through Dennis Bergkamp with 32 minutes played.
That goal opened the floodgates as Jose Antonio Reyes and Thierry Henry made it 3-0 with two more quick-fire goals before half time, to leave Palace facing an uphill second half battle.
Patrick Vieira made the Eagles’ task even harder just 10 minutes into the second half as his strike put the hosts 4-0 up.
Palace did pull one back on 63 minutes through an Andrew Johnson penalty, but Frenchman Henry popped up again 13 minutes from time to round off a five star Gunners performance.
Tickets in the away section for this match at the Emirates Stadium are completely SOLD OUT.
We would politely advise supporters not to travel to the ground on Sunday if you do not have a ticket for the game.
Please also be aware that the usual Sunday service will be running on the rail network and the London underground.
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